Grave Hunting at Glasnevin Cemetery

During a recent history tour of Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, I learnt that there are more dead people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery than are living in Dublin today.  On your ‘Irish Family History’ journey I’m sure you will come across some relatives buried in Glasnevin Cemetery also known locally as the ‘Dead Centre of Dublin’. You gotta love the Irish sense of humour.

I would highly recommend the historical tour which is like a history of Ireland in 1.5 hours showing the graves from Daniel O’Connell who created Glasnevin Cemetery in 1828 to Parnell to Michael Collins.  However, I had an another motive for visiting Glasnevin Cemetery other than the history tour.

As part of my family history research, I knew that a number of my paternal relatives and my husbands were buried in Glasnevin.  So, prior to our visit, I checked the location of the graves on the Glasnevin Trust website.

Glasnevin Trust Genealogy

Once you feel you have located the correct person, you can buy credits to check the location of the grave and the address, occupation, age, date of death and who else is buried in the same plot.  This is a fabulous source of information as it can answer some road blocks you may have come across, and list relatives going further back that you hadn’t come across yet.

For example, this is the burial record from the Glasnevin Trust Website for my Paternal Great Great Grandmother Margaret Bridgeman. The location of the plot is JE 45.  The plots are located on a grid system; letters going one way and numbers the other so it wasn’t difficult to find it.

Glasnevin Trust Burial Record
Glasnevin Trust Burial Record

There is something weirdly odd about grave hunting.  I get great pleasure in finding people I have been searching for for sometimes a long time.  For people I have never met, there is an amazing connection; like an innate sense of knowing who they were. Like finding a long lost friend.  I suppose you could look at it as Margaret Bridgeman, née Kirwan is a part of me from a DNA perspective but also I wouldn’t be here without her.

Bridgeman Grave Glasnevin Cemetery
Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Have mercy on the souls of the Bridgeman Family. Bridget Rose died 21st Feb 1894. Margaret nee Kirwan died 8th Feb 1896. Joseph died 21st April 1901. Joseph Kirwan died 28th April 1922. Kathleen Mary died 20th April 1927. Kathleen nee McGrane died 1959. Joseph John died 19th June 1995.
Bridgeman Grave Glasnevin Cemetery

Whilst it’s great finding the grave, it can unearth some additional information that you weren’t expecting.  For example, I knew from previous research who most people in the grave were but didn’t know who Bridget Rose was.  As the grave gives details of her date of death, it took me 2 mins to find her death record on www.irishgenealogy.ie. She was the daughter of Margaret Bridgeman and her husband Joseph.  Their daughter Bridget Rose predeceased her parents at the age of 16 from ‘consumption’ referred to by locals but medical term was TB or tuberculous bacillus.

Irish Civil Death Record
Irish Civil Death Record

For most of the last century, about 10,000 yearly died in Dublin alone from ‘consumption’.  An article in the Irish Times in 2010 explains…  Irish Times – Consumption.  Although it was considered a disease of the poor, the Bridgeman family were I believe ‘well-to-do’ but more research required to uncover more about their history.

So if you are living in Dublin or just visiting, I suggest a visit to Glasnevin Cemetery and browse around the museum or take one of their tours.  Details in the link Glasnevin Museum and Tours.

Happy hunting!


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